Ed Emery: Right-To-Work Would Mean Lower Wages For Missourians

ALEC Co-Chair and State Senator Ed Emery finally admitted yesterday what proponents of so-called 'right to work' laws have long been trying to hide from the public, that the legislation would result in lower wages for the middle-class.


EMERY: "One of the things that will be advocated by the unions is look at all these right to work states, average wages all go down. Sure they go down, you have a whole lot more people working in those states and they aren't necessarily working for $25 an hour. They couldn't get a job for $25 an hour but they can at $20 because they're worth $20, or they're worth $17, or they're worth $12. So, all of the sudden you have a whole lot more people working. But you won't find in any of those states that those workers who were employed, unionized, that their wages have gone down. You'll find that there's more people working because there's more freedom. The employer has more freedom, and the worker has more freedom. As we go forward in Missouri with promoting freedom to work, we need to be sure that people understand the difference between liberty and oppression."

For once, Emery is right.  According to a 2011 study by Dr. Gordon Lafer of the Economic Policy Institute, "the average full-time, full-year worker in an RTW state makes about $1,500 less annually than a similar worker in a non-RTW state." 

But unsurprisingly, Emery's argument that lower wages would be acceptable because right-to-work would create new jobs in Missouri is just flat wrong. 

  • The Economic Policy Institute found in a 2011 study that the “evidence is overwhelming” that “right-to-work laws have not succeeding boosting employment growth in the states that have adopted them.”
  • Hofstra University professor Lonnie Stevans found in a 2007 study that employment was actually lower in states with right-to-work laws when controlling for other factors.
  • And in 2011, Ozkan Eren with the University of Nevada and Serkan Obzeklik with Claremont McKenna found in a study that there was no evidence to support right-to-work laws increased employment in manufacturing in Idaho and Oklahoma.


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